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Authors: Catherine Bybee

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Seduced by Sunday (7 page)

BOOK: Seduced by Sunday
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“You’re welcome.”

Val stared briefly, before he pushed away from the treadmill he leaned against and tilted his head. “Enjoy your I-don’t-want-to-get-fat workout, Miss Rosenthal.”

The man made her smile. “Try not to work too hard.”

He’d avoided them all day and into the evening. Made a point to stay far from the private villas . . . but on the third morning he found an e-mail in his in-box with a picture.

Margaret Rosenthal laughing in the arms of Michael Wolfe as he tossed her into the ocean. The picture wasn’t intimate or suggestive, but it had been taken.

And it had been taken on his island.

He released a string of obscenities in Italian and pressed the intercom. “Carol. I need security in my office in five minutes.”

“Is everything all right, Mr. Masini?”

“Five minutes.” He disconnected the call and printed out the photograph.

Lou Myong stood before him four minutes later, the photograph in his hand.

“This was taken from the island, not the ocean, not above in a plane.”

Val could see that.

“Can you tell who sent it?”

Val shook his head. “I expect an Internet team on this. I want to know the IP address, the origin. I need to know who sent the photograph.”

Lou folded the copy of the picture and tucked it in the inside pocket of his suit jacket. A second-generation Korean American, Lou stood a few inches shorter than Val, but the man had a good thirty pounds over him. Lou had been the head of his security on the island since before the first guest arrived. He understood the need for secrecy and made damn sure pictures like the one in his pocket weren’t taken.

“The question is why send it to you? Why not just print it? Pictures of movie stars on vacation fetch thousands of dollars.”

“Someone wants me to know they can do it.”

“Or someone is placing focus on these two.”

Val didn’t like the sound of either scenario. He flicked the switch on his desk. “Carol, can you come in here please?”

“Right away.”

Once Carol stood before him, he started spouting off orders. “I need a list of every employee assigned to the Wolfe party.”

Carol tossed a nervous glance to Lou and back to Val.

“I want everyone interviewed, the interviews recorded. I need to know what they’ve seen, who they’ve seen. I need to know if the security breach is internal.”

His private secretary’s eyes grew wide. “Breach, Mr. Masini?”

“Someone is watching our guests, Carol. I need eyes on the eyes and a moment-by-moment account of our guests.”

A blank stare fell across Carol’s face. “That might be difficult, Mr. Masini.”

His back stiffened and his gaze narrowed. “And why is that?”

“Mr. Wolfe and his companion took a charter to Key West after breakfast.”

Damn it.
It was one thing to contain security on his island, not possible when his guests joined the party in the south.

Val met Lou’s dark eyes. “Put your most trusted man on the employees. I need you in Key West. Find them, follow them, and see if anyone of interest is watching.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Carol, not one word. Right now there are three people who know there’s a breach.”

“Yes, Mr. Masini.”

The two left the office in silence.

“Key fucking West.”

Michael Wolfe and Margaret Rosenthal’s photographs will be in every rag magazine available by morning.

Where Sapore di Amore was silence and solitude, Key West was the exact opposite.

Meg was surprised they lasted two nights and almost forty-eight hours before looking for excitement off island.

The charter off the island was exclusive to Sapore di Amore. Only guests of the island used the charter. They were given a cell phone and were asked to return to the dock by ten that evening.

With so many shops and restaurants and otherwise touristy spots to spend their time, Meg wasn’t sure ten o’clock would be long enough.

They hid behind massive sunglasses, told passersby that Michael wasn’t Michael, but yeah, he could be a stunt double for the man.

Still, Meg noticed a few cell phones swinging their way. She made sure she pushed in close to give the vibe they were together.

Halfway through lunch on an outside patio, Meg felt the need to look over her shoulder. “I don’t know how you do this,” she told him.

“You ignore it.”

“But someone is watching us.”

He shrugged, sipped his margarita. “Isn’t that the idea? See if we’re followed back to the island? See if it’s as secure as Val says it is?”

She glanced over her shoulder, didn’t see the eyes she felt. “Yeah.”

“Then that’s what we do. We play tourist and return to the island at dark. If nothing hits the papers by the morning, we step it up.”

“And how do we step it up?”

Michael looked over the rim of his sunglasses and wiggled his eyebrows. “I’m more than a pretty face on the big screen.”

Meg grabbed her purse and stood. “I’m in need of the little girls’ room and am going to make a quick call to your sister.”

Michael reached for the borrowed cell phone.

“I don’t trust that. I’ll use a house phone.”

“Do they have those anymore?”

Meg laughed, but wondered if there was a house phone once she walked away. She stepped around the bar and found her path cut off by three bikini-clad women. “Is that Michael Wolfe you’re with?” they asked.

Meg glanced at an Asian man watching from across the bar.

“If I had a dime for every time someone asked us that,” Meg said. “We’d be as rich as Michael Wolfe.”

The youngest of the beach-bound women offered a full pout. “We thought for sure.”

“Sorry to disappoint you.” She walked away with a tiny smile.

Meg found a house phone, which was really a cell phone from the manager, and she made a quick call to Judy.

“Hey, chica.”

“Don’t tell me you’re back already?”

“No, we just got started. Snuck away to Key West.”

“I didn’t think my brother would last a week in seclusion.”

“The island is amazing. We just wanted to test the bounds early. Listen, I need you to look something up for me.”

“Find a new client?”

“Nothing like that. We haven’t even really talked to many people outside of the owner of the resort and his family.” Meg went on to tell Judy about Gabi and her fiancé. Asked her best friend to look up the winery and see if she could learn anything about the man.

“If he’s not a prospective client, why bother looking him up?”

Once again, Meg felt eyes watching her. Only she wasn’t beside Michael.
I must be paranoid.

Music from the outside steel band filled the bar and made the conversation on the phone difficult.

“Something about him bugs me. Call it a byproduct of screening men for Alliance. It was obvious that Gabi’s mother didn’t like the man, and yet Masini and Gabi were both oblivious.”

“Was he an ass?”

“No . . . just . . . blah. I can’t put my finger on it. And Gabi is so sweet and sheltered. I’d hate to have a gut feeling and not follow up on it.”

“Sounds like Gabi is competing for BFF status.”

Meg tossed her head back and laughed. “Jealous?”

Judy giggled. “I was always your first. She can’t take that away.”

As an only child, Meg relished her friendship with Judy, missed some of the day-to-day stuff now that she was married. “So, can you look him up?”

“Of course. Consider it done.”

“If anything looks crazy, give the information to Sam, see if she can dig more.”

They spoke for another minute before Meg returned the phone to the manager.

“Miss me?” she asked when she sat back down beside Michael.

They arrived back on the island before the last charter and Val was still seething.

There were times when his sister was a teen that he’d sat waiting for her to return home after a date . . . but he’d never felt this stressed.

The employee interrogation turned up next to nothing. He tucked away a few tidbits the housekeeper offered, but none of the information would lay a finger on why, or who took a photograph of Margaret and Michael.

Did Margaret have someone snap the shot and send it to him? The woman he met online, maybe . . . the woman he met in person . . . he wasn’t sure.

He found no fault in her genuine response to some of the simplest of things. Her reaction to his mother, the way she engaged his sister in conversation, held a sincerity he thought was real.

As for Michael Wolfe, the man was an actor. Much like politicians, Val knew better than to record anything he said as scripture. Besides, if what the housekeeper said about the sleeping arrangements was true, the lies were stacking up.

As tidbits went, that one left a smile on his face.

Margaret Rosenthal and Michael Wolfe might be
friends with benefits
, but those benefits didn’t start
end in a bedroom.

The titillating information thrilled him, and also made him question why they were there. Why Sapore di Amore? Why together?

Why now?

Why did the idea of his guests sleeping in two different bedrooms delight him?

Maybe because it had been some time since he felt himself taken by a woman. Margaret Rosenthal was a colorful package with many layers to unwrap to determine what made her tick. Outside of the hotel, there weren’t many things that intrigued him. He’d dedicated every minute of his life to the island. Assuring his sister and mother were taken care of was paramount. He’d had the occasional brief affair. Most were physical and lacked any real emotion.

Funny how Margaret was all emotion.

“You need therapy, Val.”

Now he was talking to himself. He pushed his mind away from women and continued his Internet search for recent sightings of Michael Wolfe.

Lou walked into his office thirty minutes after the Wolfe party had returned to their accommodations. It was late, the man was working past his designated hours . . . he never complained.

“What can you tell me?”

Lou started detailing every move from the moment he found them.

“They didn’t call attention to themselves?”

“They did the tourist thing, hid behind sunglasses. I even overheard Miss Rosenthal tell some of his fans that she’d be rich if she earned money off every time Mr. Wolfe was mistaken for Michael Wolfe.”

“Did they meet anyone?”

Lou shook his head. “No long conversations.”


“A few on the cell phone they took of themselves. Nothing more. The phone was checked in per protocol. None of the shots included any of our other guests. Nothing suggestive.”

“Vacation pictures.” Val rubbed the bridge of his nose.


“Keep eyes on them.”

“Already done, Boss.”

“Thanks, Lou. Get some sleep. I have a feeling it’s going to be a long week.”

Val drove his golf cart past his guest villas and decided to walk along the beach back to his office. Normally the walk, the sea . . . the moon shining on the water would calm him.

Not on this night. This night he wished for the counsel of his father and could only hope he was somewhere silently guiding him.

He’d been a young man when his father had passed. He had been finishing up his last year in high school and remembered in vivid color the last look his father had given him.

BOOK: Seduced by Sunday
10.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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